More than 100 officers from the force worked to proactively tackle serious violence and knife crime during a day of action across Sussex on Saturday (5 March).

A range of teams including the Specialist Enforcement Unit, Roads Policing Unit, Tactical Firearms Unit, the Tactical Enforcement Units, police dog unit, neighbourhood policing, new police recruits from our Divisional Coaching Units as well as new recruits from our volunteer Special Constables were involved. They worked collaboratively with officers from British Transport Police (BTP) and their Violent Task Force and Rail Enforcement Officers who supported the whole entire operation around the rail network and surrounding areas.

The high visibility activity part of Operation Safety – the force’s response to tackling knife crime and serious violence took place in Littlehampton, Worthing, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and Hailsham and saw officers offering reassurance to the public and responding to spontaneous incidents.

They made 14 arrests for various offences including possession of an offensive weapon, attempted grievous bodily harm (GBH), possession with intent to supply drugs, possession of drugs, drink and drug driving and breach of court bails, seized 14 weapons, carried out numerous stop and searches  and issued six community resolutions.

Some of the operational highlights were:

A youth was safeguarded and detained in custody following a vehicle stop where he was found in the passenger seat of a vehicle linked to drug dealing and a stabbing. He was found to had hidden a lock knife on his person.

The BTP Violent Task Force officers were working at Worthing railway station in plain clothes when they along with the Rail Enforcement Officers saw a group of youths attacking a man with a knife before they attempted to discard it in a bush. BTP along with Sussex officers detained a large number of youths at the station and arrested one suspect for an attempted GBH. They also located another outstanding suspect who was also arrested for attempted GBH.

Officers searched a man in Eastbourne who was found to have a large kitchen knife tucked in his waistband with the handle wrapped with tape. He was arrested for possession of a bladed article. Later on there was another man wearing a balaclava walking through the shopping centre in the town. Despite the face, covering the staff recognised him as being a suspect for carrying a knife. He was intercepted, searched and arrested for being in breach of court bail conditions.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Hale said: “Sussex is a safe place to live, with knife incidents falling below the national average. However, knife crime can have devastating consequences and we are determined to take proactive action to prevent further lives being affected. 

“Carrying a knife can change your life. Although some people may choose to carry one to feel safer, they are actually at far more risk of harm and face serious consequences if caught.

“As well as targeting offenders and disrupting criminal activity, our focus is raising awareness of the dangers of knife possession to prevent lives being impacted by knife crime. We work with partners including the local authorities, schools, public health and charities to engage with children and young people and divert them away from knife crime.  

“We all have a part to play in tackling knife crime and we encourage anyone with information or concerns to report it to us so we can take action.”

As well as days of action, Sussex Police carries out proactive patrols, carries out educational outreach in schools and among local communities, works with Border Force to prevent knives from being imported, ensures local businesses are aware of Challenge 25 policies, and works to target prolific offenders. 

What should I do if I’m worried about knife crime?
If you are under 18, you feel threatened, unsafe or scared about becoming a victim of knife crime you should try to talk with your parent or carer, or alternatively talk to Childline for help on 0800 1111 or go online at childline.org.uk